Stephen King is one of those authors that I had always meant to read but never quite got around to him. I read It last year and absolutely fell in love with King and my collection is growing and growing.
I’d always avoided short stories, I’ve no idea why, I guess I’d rather spent my time investing in a long story. A book I could really sink my teeth into. However, after stumbling across a very good book of romance short stories called The Last Girlfriend On Earth, I decided to read a short story every night before bed.
Sadly, as with all books, it ended and I was on the lookout for another. I had been recommended this book and I thought that if anyone is going to turn me on to short stories it would be Mr King.
I started off reading them one a night. Which some nights proved to be a mistake. Some of the stories, especially The Dune and That Bus is Another World made falling asleep a little difficult. Some of the stories were scarier than others. Some surprisingly had a happy ending which, I was actually a little disappointed with to be honest.
One of my favourites was Mile 81 in which a car eats people. Another was Ur. A guy receives a Kindle that can access books from alternate universes. As an aspiring publisher who has studied the industry, with an interest in digital publishing and Kindles themselves, I found this story to be particularly captivating.
As I was eager to finish the book, I read about half of them in one day. I found that reading the stories one after the other blurred them into one and I couldn’t separate them in my mind. When I read them one a night, I could distinguish them from one another and the stories were much more chilling.
There were a couple of poems and I’m not a fan of poetry, so I didn’t really get them. Also, a first for me, I managed to read the entire book without breaking its spine.
Each story comes with a little piece about where the story comes from. I liked the insight into his mind and understanding a little more about his craft.
‘Sometimes a story arrives complete – a done thing. Usually, though, they come to me in two parts: first the cup, then the handle. Because the handle may not show up for weeks, months or even years, I have a little box in the back of my mind full of unfinished cups, each protected in that unique mental packing we call memory. You can’t go looking for a handle, no matter how beautiful the cup may be; you have to wait for it to appear.’
He then goes on to explain how the story of Batman and Robin Have an Altercation came to him first as a cup then a handle. Whereas the next story The Dune appeared to him as a fully formed cup.
Overall, an excellent collection of chilling stories that would keep you up past your bedtime.
My next set of short stories will be Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks.